Posts Tagged ‘nominee 2012’

Breaking news: Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran – MEA 2012 nominee

April 24, 2012

Today the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2012 are announced in Geneva. The ann0uncement was made by the new Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey, until last year the President of and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.  Each nominee deserves its own post!  One of the 3 nominees is Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a human rights lawyer and a member of the now closed Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC); she was imprisoned for “spreading propaganda against the State”, “collusion and gathering with the aim of acting against national security” and “membership in an illegal organisation”. She worked for Shirin Ebadi‘s law firm, and represented imprisoned opposition activists following the June 2009 presidential elections. In this regard, she represented Shirin Ebadi after she left Iran and her assets were confiscated. On September 4, 2010, Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested, and later sentenced to 6-year of prison and a 10-year ban on practising as lawyer. She remains detained in Evin prison and on several occasions subjected to solitary confinement. Unlike fur common criminals her family visits and furlongs are limited. Despite real danger for her security and liberty, Nasrin Sotoudeh has relentlessly defended those most vulnerable. As started by Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi “Ms. Sotoudeh is one of the last remaining courageous human rights lawyers who has accepted all risks for defending the victims of human rights violations in Iran”. After Akbar Ganji (2006) and Baghi (2009) this is the third human rights defender from Iran chosen by the Jury in the last seven years. The Government will surely portray this as a bias, but the rest of the world will understand that Iran is one of the worst when it comes to respect HRDs.

Breaking news: the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia – MEA 2012 nominee

April 24, 2012

Today the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2012 are announced in Geneva. The ann0uncement was made by the new Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey, until last year the President of and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.  Each nominee deserves its own post!

One of the 3 nominees is the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia. In Cambodia forced evictions remove families from their homes and lands with little or no notice, without genuine consultation, and often without compensation. Despite threats of violence, arrest and disrobing, the venerable Luon Sovath, a non-violent, innovative human rights defender, firmly supports and documents at-risk rural and urban communities, mainly by advocating to stop forced evictions, documenting their struggles with videos (the venerable Sovath  is also known as the ‘Multimedia Monk’ as he is never without his camera, his mobile phone and his laptop), poems and songs, defending their right to housing, as well as for adequate compensation and alternative housing, organizing public forums to educate communities on how Buddhism, human rights and democracy are in the same line. His peaceful, non-violent approach (the venerable Sovath also composes songs to unite and inspire – regularly distributing the songs on CDs to the communities) is crucial in the nascent grassroots mobilization of affected communities nationwide; his increasingly prominent role has drawn the reaction of the authorities, and his advocacy against forced evictions touches powerful economic interests. The threats against the venerable Sovath are very real, from powerful businessmen, from the authorities and even from some of the conservative clergy.